Spring 2020 NAACCR Narrative Leave a comment

David O’Brien
Alaska Cancer Registry


The Challenges and Successes of Transitioning to CRS Plus after 18 Years with a Private Vendor

Background: For the previous 18 years, the Alaska Cancer Registry (ACR) had been using Precis-Central, a central registry database system developed by Elekta. With the announcement of the extensive NAACCR v18 standard changes, the vendor made the business decision to no longer support the software, prompting ACR to search for another central database system.

Purpose: ACR chose CRS Plus and Prep Plus from NPCR’s Registry Plus software suite to replace its current database system. The move from the old system to the new system would have to include both NAACCR and state-specific data items, and preserve consolidated data items that may not necessary be consolidated by default in the new system.

Methods: During the transition to the new software, pre-planning and close collaboration occurred between ACR and the NPCR SMEs and software engineers. The ACR data analyst was able to produce files of consolidated patient-level, consolidated tumor-level, and attached facility-level cases, as well as of unattached facility-level cases in Pending that still needed dispositioning. The software engineer created “special import” SQL scripts that uploaded each data file into the CRS Plus database. ACR used this initial database on an interim basis for about a month for testing and training purposes before repeating the process for a final special import. The SMEs for CRS Plus and Prep Plus provided ACR with comprehensive training manuals for the new software. In-person training was also available at the 2019 NCRA and NAACCR conferences.

Results: The transition of the ACR database from the old system to CRS Plus was successful. The old and new software systems are actually based on the same core program from about 20 years ago and have similar database structures and data flows. This greatly helped with the data analyst’s transition tasks and the registrar staff’s training.

Conclusions: Once the transition was completed in August 2019, the data analyst worked closely with the CRS Plus SME and software engineer to upgrade the CRS Plus database from NAACCR v16 to v18. ACR is now fully operational in its use of CRS Plus and Prep Plus.




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